Steve Case to Step Down as Chairman of AOL Time Warner

According to an article on WSJ Online, Steve Case is stepping down as Chairman of AOL Time Warner. He will vacate the post in May.

In a statement, Case said he would resign because "some shareholders continue to focus their disappointment with the company's post-merger performance on me personally."

Chicago Sun Times: AOL Time Warner chairman to resign in May
Reuters: Case Resigns as AOL Time Warner Chairman

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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




Pre-Mature Marketing

I'm sure you have all heard of Channel One and also that Coke and Pepsi place soda machines in schools. Have you also heard that McDonalds' stages mock job interviews in school just so they can display their logo to the unbranded youth?

In the article, "Unbranding Our Schools", author Alissa Quart tells the story of Tristan Kading who, when in highschool, got suspended because he accused McDonald's of stealth branding and lying about it's products. Also in the article is the story of students in Readfield Maine who have created a play that pokes fun at our ridiculously commercial society.

What was shocking to me, even being in the business, is how much marketing is taking place in middle and highschool. Marketers have placed logos on the roofs of schools, placed plaques in the hallways, offered field trips to marketers locations that include coupon promotions, and the soda companies have the well known "pouring contracts" that actually pay schools more if students drink more of the fattening crap.

When is too much marketing too much? For God's sake, let children grow up in peace. Their minds will be screwed with soon enough. Give them them time to develop themselves as an individual rather then forcing them to define themselves based on what soft drink they consume!


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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




The Death of Niche Marketing

There is a great article in today's Boston Globe Ideas section about the shift from targeted demographic market segmentation to one that in more post-racial, "United Nations" style and more all-inclusive in its approach. It's along the lines of the bi-racial, melting pot society that America has become.

There seems to be a shift away from marketers developing separate strategies and separate creative executions for each individual demographic group. Many marketers are creating commercials where the ethnic make up is indeterminate allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks with their own ethnic projections.

According to the 2000 Census, 6.8 million Americans belong to two at least two racial groups. With 43% of this group under the age of 18 and other studies pointing towards the increase in inter-racial marriage, the racial blurring on America is truly happening.

As Warren Beatty put it in the movie, Bulworth, "If we all fucked each other, we'd eventually end up the same color". Whether a country where all people are the same color is better off then a country that is multi-color is open for debate but that is what is happening demographically.

Marketers have realized this and are experimenting with an "anti-niche" approach to marketing. Is this the sure fire way to go? You decide. Read the article as it offers viewpoints on both the niche and anti-niche approach. It's thought provoking.
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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




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